If you’ve ever experienced an improv show, whether as an audience member or as a performer, you know what an exciting and exhilarating experience it can be. In one sitting you can experience the joys of spontaneous comedy and find characters and situations that relate to your life and touch you personally.
If you’re a child living in a homeless shelter, you crave these kinds of experiences. Life in a shelter is impermanent and stressful for children. They are living in very close quarters with their families and often several other families, with little time to themselves and scant space to play.
That’s why over the past year, Hideout Theater has been working with Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Hideout improvisor Lacy Shawn to bring, through specialized weekly classes, the joy of improv to at-risk youth ages 4-18. Our classes provide a chance for these kids to relax, decompress and express themselves through improv.
“The special needs program at The Hideout Theatre combines the best of both improv and therapeutic intervention,” says Lacy, “resulting in a unique opportunity for youth to have fun while building skills that translate far beyond the stage. These youth are often facing significant barriers such as frequent school changes, family instability, trauma histories, and mental health challenges. Our program was created with these kids in mind –to give them a space to build self-confidence, explore communication, express themselves, and develop self-regulation. I’m incredibly pleased to report that we have had significant success thus far with the program, and I am hoping to continue providing these services as long as possible.”
Parents have shared with us that their children laugh and smile more, and that even though their situation hasn’t changed, their outlook has. Since our classes occur every week, these kids can depend on having a fun, expressive, consistent, and safe experience that can be hard to come by in their lives. The program has been so successful that the Salvation Army named the Hideout “Volunteer of the Month” in August.
Lacy and her team started offering classes to kids this summer, and thanks to a generous donation from Tim Coyle, the Hideout has enough funds to continue classes through October. If you’re interested in donating to this exciting program, click here. Roughly $60 provides a class for 10-12 at-risk kids. We would absolutely love to continue providing these classes for as long as possible moving forward.
For more information about the Hideout’s special needs program, which also includes programming for youth with autism spectrum disorders and specialized workshops, click here.
If you’d like to contact Lacy Shawn for more information please send a message to email@example.com.